In a Sunday interview with Spanish outlet Sport, Barcelona president Sandro Rosell remarked that it would cost upwards of €580 million to pry Lionel Messi from the reigning Primera Division champions.
“[A buying club] would have to give Messi €250 million to pay the LFP clause; then they’d have to pay more than 56 per cent in taxes. This would be about €580 million,” he said (via Goal), referencing both the Argentine’s release clause and the various costs associated with conducting a transfer of such magnitude.
However, he added, “All players who want to can leave—all but Messi.”
Not that anyone was expecting him to. But Rosell’s candidness in addressing Messi’s value—indeed, actually attaching a figure to it—crossed into new territory and served as a reminder that any footballer, even a four-time Ballon d’Or winner, has a price.
Messi turned down a blockbusting move to an unknown Russian club thought to be Anzhi after a bid of £205m triggered his release clause— Sportive23.net (@Sportive23_) December 28, 2012
Messi’s €250 million release clause has actually been triggered at least once (in December 2012), and while the interested club was never identified by either the player or Barcelona, it was widely assumed to have been Russia’s Anzhi Makhachkala (via The Independent).
In addition to making the bid for the Argentine, the club also offered personal terms of €530,000 per week, and while that represents more than double Messi’s current wages at Barcelona, it was still not enough to tempt him to join former teammate Samuel Eto’o in Dagestan.
As recently as last month, Paris Saint-Germain were also making rumblings about triggering the release clause (via The Guardian), but while Barcelona would be compelled to sell Messi to whatever club comes up with the fee, it would still fall to the player to make the ultimate decision.
And, unsurprisingly, he’s not about to go anywhere.
In the same interview, Rosell claimed to have sent a letter to Old Trafford reiterating his intention to keep Cesc Fabregas at Camp Nou, saying, “He wants to stay and there is no argument from us.”
Finally, the 49-year-old admitted to have failed in his pursuit to sign Thiago Silva from PSG, but did say he would be looking “at other options” in an effort to boost his side’s defensive depth.